You’ll either think we’re crazy or that we were taking advantage of a good thing while we could. We definitely thought it was the latter when we decided to eat at Morning Glory restaurant four out of our five days in Hoi An, Vietnam. And on one of those days you could say we ate there twice: we ate our products at the Morning Glory cooking school (thank you Lisa!) as well as going back for dinner. It. Was. That. Good.
We eat pretty well on this trip, but also cheaply. We dine like locals as much as possible, which works out to be delicious food that’s about $1-3 each normally. Morning Glory was definitely a massive step up in price from our norm, but was still very reasonable by any standard for a gourmet restaurant. In fact, it’s hands down the best restaurant we’ve been to in South East Asia to date and it would make a killing in DC.
They specialize in gourmet “street food” particularly central Vietnam traditions like Cau Lau and Hoi An White Rose dumplings – the same family has been cooking them for five generations and has never let the recipe out of the family.
I had the opportunity to talk to the head Chef, LuLu, the night before their cooking class Josh and I signed up for. She saw I was a little bummed we couldn’t choose our own dishes to learn: I wanted to try to recreate the stuffed squid and spicy eggplant dishes that I was in love with. No dice. However, she told me to come back the evening after the course; which i did. She personally brought me into the kitchen during the mad dinner rush and showed me how to make my favorites. Not many restaurants would do that and it made me like the place for more than just its food.
Some things I learned:
- Crispy fried garlic or shallot slices (good on almost everything) are dried before they are fried. 10 minutes at 150 degrees will do. Makes them more concentrated. Yum.
- Vietnamese spring onions are more like our ramps than our spring onions.
- The variety and quantity of fresh herbs used in all Vietnamese dishes make some cost prohibitive to recreate at home. And some I wouldn’t want to cook with, even if I could find them, like “fish herb”. I swear, if you didn’t know you were holding leaves you’d think you were at the fish market.
If you’re anywhere near Hoi An, run, don’t walk, to Morning Glory. You’ll be glad you did.
Dinner for two including: appetizers, entrees, a veggie side, beers and one dessert = $15-25
Cooking Class = $25-50 depending on which one you take.
- Squid stuffed with pork and shrimp
- Chili eggplant
- Morning glory (of course). A vegetable banned in the US that Josh and I will sorely miss.
- Crispy pancake rolls
- Steamed dumplings (different from the White Rose dumplings)
- Cao Lao